Unsolicited grant proposals not welcome at Bloomberg Philanthropies

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Photo by: wfuv / CC BY-NC-SA

    Interested in applying for a grant with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s umbrella foundation for all of the billionaire’s charity activities? Tough luck, at least for now.

    Grant proposals are currently by invitation only. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ very brief grant policy states that while the ogranization does not accept unsolicited proposals, it is “always open to new ideas from new sources.”

    The foundation rolled out Tuesday, April 30, its first-ever website, which provides detailed information on the causes it supports, lists its partners — among them fellow nonprofits such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and U.N. agencies like the World Health Organization — and outlines Bloomberg’s strategy on five main programs: the arts, education, the environment, government innovation and public health.

    As for its donor approach, Bloomberg Philanthropies abides by the tagline, “Results that can be measured. Change that can be felt.”

    The organization hopes to build on its founder’s entrepreneurial spirit, experience in public office and “belief in the power of cities” to making the world a better place.

    How can this be achieved? The foundation lists six key points:

    1. Leading from the front, regardless of the potential for controversy or failure.

    2. Spreading solutions that work, like the mayor’s tough tobacco control laws in New York, to “turn proven ideas into widespread solutions, and tailoring them as needed to scale up their impact.”

    3. Using data in new ways and harnessing the power of information to assess opportunities, measure progress, evaluate impact and improve performance.

    4. Lasting and necessary change comes not from writing checks but by empowering individuals and organizations to think for themselves in order to shift policies and advance progress.

    5. Seeking public-private partnerships, as development challenges are getting increasingly complex and cannot be solved by the public or the private sector alone.

    6. Leveraging the power of cities to create lasting change, for instance in fighting climate change.

    Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $370 million to projects around the world in 2012, according to the organization’s financial statement, which is included in its annual report.

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    About the author

    • Carlos Santamaria

      Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.